Grand Opening of the Eagerly Anticipated World of Pandora
The opening of the new Pandora World at Animal Kingdom is finally here much to our delight! Soft opening commenced on Friday 26th May, with the official opening on May 27th 2017! Total Orlando have had the privilege to visit twice on the run up to the big day. To read a detailed review of the whole area check out our first Pandora Press Preview blog here.
The second time we were lucky enough to not only visit the colorful vibrant area during daylight, but to also discover the area after dark. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more impressive, it did! The nighttime experience brings on a whole new level of authenticity, with the help of the spectacular bioluminescent effects. By day Pandora is a colorful array of pods, plants, the famous floating mountains, flowing waterfalls and towering mountains. Disney don’t play on the characters of the 2009 James Cameron Avatar movie in the area, they actually use the beauty of the Na’vi’s world Mo’ara. You can actually feel the change of energy as you cross the bridge from the Animal Kingdom to 4.4 lightyears away to the World of Pandora.
Animal Kingdom is no longer just a Daytime Park
Previously Animal Kingdom has been portrayed as a daytime park to visit, however, that is about to change with the help of:
- World of Pandora
- Rivers of Light
- Tree of Light Awakenings
- Discovery Island Carnivale
Animal Kingdom is about to become an extremely strong contender to rival the other parks for a nighttime visit.
The new land is near the front of the park to the left, don’t worry you won’t miss it, it is well sign posted. Don’t miss the huge plant on the right of the land as you enter. The ‘Flaska Reclinata’ this is an interactive plant that responds to human touch, pretty cool eh?
How Does Flight of Passage Compare to other Simulators
I seriously feel bad calling the Flight of Passage a simulator. This is like nothing else I have ever experienced before, I was thinking Soarin prior to riding. Wow! I am sorry soarin, however, compared to Flight of Passage you seem pretty lame (Soarin is one of our favorite attractions), Flight of Passage really is that great. The whole process from queueing through the caves and the partially restored laboratory, to being matched with your avatar, to eventually soaring through the colorful land of Pandora is breathtaking. I have made no secret of the fact that The Forbidden Journey is my all time favorite ride! Flight of Passage just tore the title right from Harry Potter’s grasp!
Na’vi River Adventure
Disney love a good boat ride, and now Animal Kingdom get to boast their very own ‘The Na’vi River Adventure’, joining some of Disney’s other world famous ‘dark’ boat rides including:
- Magic Kingdom – It’s a Small World
- Magic Kingdom – Jungle Cruise
- Magic Kingdom – Pirates of The Caribbean
- Epcot – Living with the Land
- Epcot – Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- EPCOT – Frozen (most recent)
The tranquil boat ride is a dark ride with beautiful theming and of course those bioluminescent effects. I think the younger audience will be totally captivated, however, I am a little skeptical as to what the older audience will make of it.
What We Love (we actually love all of it but these stand out)
- Flight of Passage (every single aspect even the queue)
- The Flaska Reclinata
- The Floating Mountains
- The Bioluminescent Plants and Floor at Night
- The Scents
- The Sounds
Opening Weekend and Crowds
We expect this weekend to be off the scale for crowds, just like any other theme park when a new area opens. If you are visiting this weekend wether you are a seasoned Disney visitor or it is your very first visit, we would strongly suggest that you visit the area, which is a fabulous experience in itself. If you want to queue to ride we would definitely say it is worth every single minute!. I have been lucky enough to ride the Passage of Flight eight times in total, I would definitely queue for a good few hours to experience this again, I simply can’t put into words just how this made me feel. I actually witnessed some media moved to tears!
Whats Missing from the area
Well we are being picky now but here goes:
- No ride signs, however, those maybe going to be added prior to the weekend, the land isn’t huge, but it would still be nice to be directed.
- Little in the way of refreshment stands. We didn’t see any of those small kiosks that pop up all over the place at most theme parks. We think they are going to be needed due to the large crowds this area is going to pull. Especially under the blazing summer sun.
Have You Watched Avatar
Whilst it isn’t necessary to watch the movie to understand what Disney are doing here, we would highly recommend that you do so. It starts of a little slow (the first ten minutes), however, trust us when we say ‘bear with it’, we guarantee you won’t be left disappointed.
Why The World Loves Disney
Just when you thought Disney couldn’t get anymore magical!! It pulls out all the stops and brings us The World of Pandora! Thank you Disney!